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Jewish settler, militant killed in Mideast

A woman grieved during the funeral Tuesday for Jewish settler and father of five Evyatar Borovsky, 31, near Haifa.

Nir Elias/Reuters

A woman grieved during the funeral Tuesday for Jewish settler and father of five Evyatar Borovsky, 31, near Haifa.

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian stabbed a Jewish settler to death in the West Bank on Tuesday — the first fatal attack on an Israeli there in more than a year — and the killing triggered retaliatory violence in both the West Bank and Jerusalem, a police spokesman said.

In the Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike killed an Islamist militant who allegedly was involved in the recent firing of rockets from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula toward the southern Israeli city of Eilat. The airstrike was the first targeted killing in Gaza by Israel since a November cease-fire.

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The flare-up of violence on two fronts underscored the volatility of Israel’s festering conflict with the Palestinians even as Washington tries to get both sides to resume peace talks.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Tuesday embraced a proposal by the Arab League to revive talks as ‘‘a very big step forward,’’ but initial reactions suggested that the new initiative might have difficulty penetrating the years-long impasse.

“We’re taking more steps,’’ Kerry said Tuesday, a day after a Qatar-led delegation of Arab states presented the initiative at a meeting near the White House. ‘‘Yesterday was another step. And we’re going to continue to march forward and try to bring people to the table despite the difficulties and the disappointments of the past.’’

Qatar’s foreign minister had suggested the revival of the Arab Peace Initiative, introduced in 2002, and for the first time eased its demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders. Instead, the minister accepted the possibility of tweaking those borders with a comparable and mutually agreed ‘‘minor swap of the land.’’

The Palestinians’ chief negotiator said the Arab League’s proposal reflected their own position, but he reiterated longstanding conditions for resuming talks, which Israel has for the past several years rejected.

A senior Israeli official ‘‘welcomed the encouragement’’ from the Arab League, but suggested that the initiative’s framework was unlikely to be embraced as a starting point.

In Jerusalem on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, ‘‘We will not accept the sporadic firing of rockets from either the Gaza Strip or Sinai,’’ after the killing of Haitham al-Miskhal, who according to the ­Israeli ­Army was a key terror figure affiliated with the Mujahideen Shura Council, an Islamist group active in Gaza and the ­Sinai area.

An Israeli aircraft targeted Miskhal in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. Miskhal, who worked as a police officer, was linked to Islamist militant factions, according to Palestinians in Gaza familiar with his activities.

The Israeli slain in the West Bank was identified as Evyatar Borovsky, 31, a father of five who lived and worked as a security guard at the settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus, in the northern West Bank. He was killed as he stood at a hitchhiking stop at aroad junction.

The assailant stabbed Borovsky in the chest, took his gun, and shot at a border police post before an officer fired, wounding the attacker, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The suspect was taken into custody and brought to an ­Israeli hospital for treatment.

Settlers retaliated by stoning Palestinian cars and torching farmland around Yitzhar, the police and Palestinians said. Settlers set fire to olive groves in the villages of Asira al-Qibliya and Urif, near Nablus, where a mosque was damaged in an attempt to set it on fire, Palestinians reported. Seven girls on a school trip were hurt when two buses were pelted with stones, Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official, told the Palestinian news agency Maan.

Material from the New York Times was included in this report.
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